Science Ambassadors

NEW! The Science Ambassadors Program has moved the University of Saskatchewan College of Arts and Science, Division of Science, Science Outreach Office. The new website of the program is available here: www.ourscienceambassadors.com.

The old webiste can be found here: WISE Chair Science Ambassadors Website

A Promotional Video for the Program

The main idea of the “Science Ambassadors” Initiative is that graduate students in natural sciences, math, computer science, engineering, or health sciences spend a significant period of time in schools with high proportion of aboriginal students. The Science Ambassador assists the science teacher in the school by preparing hands-on activities, finding interesting and culture-related ways of explaining science concepts. As a participant in the classroom, the student will:

  • enrich the course content as a teaching assistant, who will help the teacher update the course topics with interesting facts from new research from popular science magazines.
  • will be an ambassador of the University, interspersing the teaching materials with examples of research carried out at the University, or research that relates to community issues,
  • will be young role model to the students in the school, to whom they can relate more easily than to a much older person, e.g. faculty.
  • will bring back to the University her experience about approaches that work well and that don’t work and serve as a University contact for with the community.

The key difference between this and other approaches for science outreach in aboriginal communities is the duration. Instead of just a single visit, a one-day science camp in the community, or organizing for the aboriginal students a 1-2 day visit to the University, this approach facilitates the building of long-term relationships between the graduate students (and potentially, her supervisor, the Chair, the University) with the aboriginal community. This long term relationship is crucial for the establishment of trust, mutual respect and acceptance. It will help in the creation of a two-way learning process: about western science in the community and about aboriginal science and values by the student and the university community.

Here is another VIDEO where Kay Perreault, who served as a Science Ambassador in The Pas, MB, in 2009 and 20010 describes her experience with the program.

Below is the history of the program, by year:

In 2006/2007 we piloted this project with two ambassadors:

Dawn Pratt is a M.Sc. Student in Chemistry. She works under the supervision of Dr. Lee Wilson and Dr. Janusz Kozinski. Dawn received a Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GTF) from the College of Engineering to support her studies, research and work as Science Ambassador. She spent one day every week helping the teachers in two Aboriginal communities: Muskoday First Nation and Beardy's First Nation .

Danielle Anderson is currently a M.Sc. Student in Physics at the University of Alberta. Danielle spent 6 week in April and May 2008 in the Pas, Manitoba working as a Science Ambassador in 6 schools in The Pas and at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. She was funded by NSERC/Cameco Prairie Chair for Science and Engineering. The University College of the North sponsored her accommodation and food during her stay in the Pas.

We organized a symposium for all the people involved in the Science Ambassador project in June 19-20, 2008. It was attended by 25 participants: the ambassadors, the teachers who worked with them, researchers from the University of Saskatchewan, representatives from Manitoba Education, the Office of Research Services at the University of Saskatchewan, the President of the First Nations University and the Hon. Senator Lillian Dyck. The Saskatchewan Minister of Advanced Education, the Hon. Rob Norris and the Saskatchewan Treaty Comissioner, the Hon. Bill McKnight attended the dinner and handed awards to the Dawn Pratt and Danielle Anderson.


In 2008/2009 we grew to six ambassadors in four communities. You can find the report including evaluations from students and teachers here.

Dawn Pratt continued to work as Science Ambassador, but this year at the Muskowpetung First Nation. She visited the community weekly.

Carrie Demmans is a M.Sc. Student in Computer Science. She was Science Ambassador in the First Nations community Mosquito, south of the Battlefords. She spent one week in the community every 1.5 months throughout the year teaching the chidlren in grades K-8 computer science, lego robots, and computer animation.

Zina Sahib is a M.Sc. Student in Computer Science. She was Science Ambassador for 6 weeks (April and May) in the Pas, Manitoba and at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. .

Kay Perreault is an undergraduate student of Physics / Education. She worked as a Science Ambassador for one month (May) in The Pas and at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

Christina Calver is an undergraduate student of Chemistry. She worked as a Science Ambassador for one month (May) in The Pas and at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

Anna Shestakova is an undergraduate student of Animal Science. She worked as a Science Ambassador for one month (May) in Wollaston, sponsored by Cameco.

We organized a dinner for the Ambassadors, researchers and sponsors on August 17, 2009 at Boffins Club. Senator Lilian Dyck and Engin Ozberk, VP of Cameco gave welcoming addresses. Here are some photos.


In 2009/2010 we grew to 10 ambassadors in six communities. Apart adding two northern communities from Saskatchewan, Black Lake and Fond Du Lac, we also expanded to Alberta (The Blood Tribe Reserve), in collaboration with the University of Lethbridge. We also started sending Ambassadors in pairs, to increase the impact of the ambassadors and ensure a better experience for them.

You can find the report including evaluations from students and teachers here.

Shey, B.Sc. Student in Chemistry, and DJ, B.Sc. Student in Biology from the University of Lehtbridge served as Science Ambassadors for 6 weeks in the Blood Tribe First Nations community working with middle year students.

Mohammad, M.Sc. Student in Computer Science and Mohsen , B.Sc. student in Biology were Science Ambassadors for 6 weeks (April and May) in the Black Lake First Nation school, working with secondary school students in math and science. They were sponsored by Cameco.

Enoch, M.Eng. Student was Science Ambassador for 6 weeks (April and May) in Fond Du Lac First Nation school, working with children from grades 1 to 8. He was sponsored by Cameco.

Additional evidence for the success of the program is the fact that the majority (4) of our last year's ambassadors wanted to do it again this year:

Dawn Pratt continued to work as Science Ambassador, but this year at the Muskowpetung First Nation. She visited the community weekly.

Dawn Pratt continued to work as Science Ambassador, but this year at the Muskowpetung First Nation. She visited the community weekly.

Anna Shestakova, B.Sc. student of Animal Science, recruited Mayya, PhD student in Computer Science served as Science Ambassadors for one month (May) in Wollaston, sponsored by Cameco.

Kay Perreault B.Sc. student of Physics / Education and Christina Calver, B.Sc. student in Chemistry worked as Science Ambassadors for six weeks (May and first half of June) in The Pas and at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

We organized a Science Ambassadors Symposium for all the ambassadors, several of the teachers and representatives from Cameco on August 24, 2010.


In 2010/2011 we had 10 ambassadors in six communities. We added two new communities: Flin-Flon and Mistawasis. However, the University of Lethbridge was not able to maintain their participation due to maternity leave of the outreach coordinator. We continued sending Ambassadors in pairs, wherever it was possible.

You can find the report including evaluations from students and teachers here.

Dylan Knowels, B.Sc. Student in Computer Science, served as Science Ambassador for 6 weeks in Flin-Flon, MB, working with secondary level students in the areas of math, computer science and biology.

Dacre B.Sc. Student in Physiology served as Science Ambassador for 6 weeks in the Mistawasis First Nation, helping middle year students in the areas of Chemistry, Biology, Math, Physics..

Nathan, B.Sc. Student in Physiology and Talha , B.Sc. student in Biology were Science Ambassadors for 6 weeks (April and May) in the Black Lake First Nation school, working with secondary school students in chemistry and biology. They were sponsored by Cameco.

Enoch, M.Eng. Student and Erigoh , B.Sc. Student in Chemistry were Science Ambassadors for 6 weeks (April and May) in Fond Du Lac First Nation school, working with children from grades 1 to 8. He was sponsored by Cameco.

Additional evidence for the success of the program is the fact that the majority (4) of our last year's ambassadors wanted to do it again this year:

Amanda, B.ED. student with speciality Science Education, and Raecine Franke, B.Sc. student in Chemistry served as Science Ambassadors for six weeks (April to June) in Wollaston, sponsored by Cameco.

Jess B.Ed. student with speciality of Math and Science Education and Mashail, B.Sc. student in Biology worked as Science Ambassadors for six weeks (May and first half of June) with grades 4-7 in the schools of The Pas and at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.


We are hoping to grow the project and attract funding to be able to launch 10 Ambassadors each year.

We need your help!

  • if you are willing to sponsor a science ambassador,
  • if you are a seniour undergraduate or graduate student in science and want to be an ambassador,
  • if you are a leader from an aboriginal community that is interested in hosting an ambassador
Please, contact the new Science Ambassador Project Coordinator, Sandy Bonny at sci.ambassadors@usask.ca!

More Information

In The News: UofS Science Ambassadors Reach Out to Aboriginal Communities (UofS Research Newsletter, April 30, 2008)

Presentation of the Ambassador Program from Aboriginal Educator's Point of View by Adrianna Sawchyn, Science Teacher at the Joe A. Ross School of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, MB.

Presentation by Dr. Julita Vassileva about the Science Ambassadors Program at the CASTS'2007 Conference, Calgary, Oct. 5, 2007

Description of the Science Ambassadors Program

Materials from the Science Ambassador Symposium, Saskatoon, June 19-20, 2008.